How are bumblebees preparing for the cold weather?

As fall approaches temperatures begin to drop significantly at night, and the daytime highs become lower. Plants begin to go dormant, producing less and less flowers in the landscape. The buzz of bees also becomes quiet as we enter the winter months. Where are they going, and do they all do the same thing for the winter? Different species of bees do different things throughout the seasonal changes, and today I am going to talk about the bumblebees.

IMG_1765IMG_1621Unlike honeybees, bumblebees do not overwinter.  Most of the colony dies off by fall, with exception to the new queens who have mated.  From spring to late summer, all of the foraging bumblebees consist of female worker bees.  Late in the summer most of the foraging bumblebees are new queens or males. 

In preparation for the fall, and passing the baton onto the next generation of queens, the existing bumblebee queen will…

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